Hi everyone! In case you missed it, I’m reporting for Passported on my stay at the Grand Isle Resort in Great Exuma, Bahamas. We had an amazing trip and you can see the first part of our stay here. Great Exuma has so much to offer other than beautiful beaches and swimming pigs (though I’ll definitely get to that in a little bit!). The main town of George Town is absolutely beautiful and has many modern conveniences with several restaurant choices, a grocery store, shopping boutiques and the straw market.
Our first stop from out taxi into George Town was the Peace N’ Plenty hotel. They had a great little poolside bar with an amazing view of the harbor. Just a few days after we left, the island was hosting a huge regatta. I can only imagine how beautiful the harbor looked filled with sailboats!
Thanks so much to the kind stranger who took this photo for me! That is the one downside to traveling alone, not many pictures of the three of us to remember that I was there too! And I told you before, “the family that Saltwaters together, stays together”.
We walked around the straw market where I picked up the sweetest grass basket for Edith, had lunch at Driftwood Cafe, and picked up a few groceries to bring back to the hotel. I wish we had spent more time in town because it was so beautiful and colorful, but the truth is, Lilah was exhausted and I didn’t bring the carrier, so we had to head back a little earlier than I had hoped. This is one of my biggest travels tips when taking the kids along; don’t be afraid to abandon all your plans and do what you have to do. Edith was so flexible with naps and less rigid about schedules but Lilah really needs a routine so once I let go of any expectations and plans, we are all happier.
After a good nap back at the hotel, we put on our bathing suits and headed to Cocoplum Beach. We were just catching the end of low tide and it was truly an incredible sight that pictures just don’t do justice. As the tide goes out here, it creates a sandbar about half a mile or so out to sea. As a result, there a hundred of shells and dozens of sand dollars that you can easily spot and pick up.
I know it looks like I am far away from the girls but the water I am standing in is only ankle deep! It was this way about 100 yards or so all around the sandbar. They happily played on the sand, building castles, while I walked around picking up shells and yelling for the girls when I found a sand dollar.
The Exumas has the clearest water I have seen anywhere in my life. It is said that people discovered it as a tourist destination by looking on Google Earth for the bluest water in the world and I think I believe it! The water was also not too warm and not too cold, the perfect temperature for swimming. I also couldn’t resist putting the girls in matching bathing suits. These strawberry prints from Egg by Susan Lazar are the sweetest.
We even found this little guy in the shallows. Don’t worry, we put him back! We also worked up quite the appetite collecting all these shells so we dried off, put on some clothes, and took a taxi to Big D’s – a local restaurant known for their amazing conch salad (which did not disappoint!).
Okay, okay! The moment you have all been waiting for! We saved the best for last. The day before heading back to Brooklyn we hoped on a bus that took us to the greatest boat tour I have ever been on. In case you don’t watch the Bachelor, or have yet to hear why the Exumas are famous (aside from the gorgeous blue water), there is an island filled with pigs that SWIM! There are several companies that offer all sorts of tours – private or group, half day or full-day – that can meet any of your needs but they mostly all do the same things. Here are a few photos from our half day tour with Four C’s Adventures:
I was too busy carrying towels and floaties and babies to take any pictures of the above mentioned bus or boat, but this is a picture from the first stop on our tour. We anchored a bit from the shore and our guide was nice enough to help carry Edith while I carried Lilah. We walked up a ways to a gorgeous lookout point on a cliff. It was a little stress-inducing for this nervous mama so we made our way back down to the beach to build some sandcastles while waiting for the rest of the group.
Edith decided she was tired of having her picture taken and decided to take mine, and I don’t hate it! I brought several other bathing suits but ended up wearing this one pretty much every day and it was the most affordable one too! Hooray for #targetdoesitagain!
The next stop was Iguana Island. Apparently, Nicolas Cage bought it for $3.5 million but when he realized it was inhabited by iguanas, a protected animal so you cannot disturb their environment, he sold it for $1 million. I wouldn’t even buy it for $1 because lizards and iguanas completely freak me out but, oh the things you do for the love of your children. Edith was fascinated and even fed (and by fed I mean threw) them bread.
Our third stop was Starfish Bay. This was honestly the most amazing part of the tour for me. We stopped in the middle of the ocean, which looked like nothing, but when you looked over the side of the boat you could see dozens of these starfish as big as your head! I was incredible! I jumped off the side of the boat and dove down to get one to bring up for the girls to see. I couldn’t believe how heavy they were. Edith said they were “too pokey” but Lilah wanted to get up close to the action.
Experiences like this are what my mama heart lives for. I love that I do things because of them. I wonder if I had been alone, would I have jumped off and got one or been happy to see one that someone else dove off the boat for? The look on their faces when I swam up to the boat was priceless and the best part of my trip.
And lastly we arrived at Pig Beach, home of the famous swimming pigs! There were none on the beach when our boat approached but after a few yells from our guide, these three ran out as fast as can be and swam right up to the boat! Their size is pretty intimidating; I think most weigh in around 200 lbs!
The story goes that a man who owns a restaurant across the way brought two over to grow big as food for his own use. They waited for him to bring them food every day. One day, a mail boat was in the middle of the water and the pigs swam to it, assuming it was their food! Ever since, the man has kept the pigs here (and not eaten them) for tourists to enjoy.
There are apparently around 20 or so pigs and maybe 10 of those are babies, though we only saw one who ran away after Edith enthusiastically yelled at it. I wish we had spent more time there and had a chance to see the babies but nevertheless, the girls have not stopped talking about how incredible it was and jump at every chance to tell strangers they saw the swimming pigs.
Our last stop was a snorkeling spot by two reefs that provided some amazing and up close views of the fish. Lilah stayed on the boat with another family (she’s still a little nervous in the water) while Edith and I dove in. This face kills me! We have used these floaties on all of our water excursions and they are amazing. Edith can swim by herself with them on and I can relax knowing she is safe.
I hope you guys liked following along with our travels to Grand Isle Resort. It wouldn’t have been possible without all the help from our friends at Passported. You can see my other post about our stay at the resort here. This trip has really inspired me to make travel a priority for our family from this point forward, even if I have to go alone with them. The experience of new foods, places, people have provided such wonderful learning opportunities for all of us and I can’t wait to see the world through their eyes.